Tag Archives: Communication

What Do You Mean By That?

It often surprises me that some businesses make their marketing more difficult than it needs to be. A marketing message should be clear and not make people guess at what you’re trying to say.

Is your marketing message clear?Take a local restaurant for example.

My wife and I drive by this restaurant regularly with a sign that reads:
Open for Dinner on Mondays.

What does that mean?

Does this mean they are only open for dinner on Mondays? What about the other six nights of the week?

Does it mean that they used to be closed on Monday nights but now they’re open?

If that’s the case, they’re assuming people know they used be closed on Mondays. A poor assumption since this is a busy street with thousands of cars passing by each day. And this place has only been in business for a couple of years. It’s not an established restaurant that’s been there for twenty years, was known for being closed on Mondays, and suddenly starts serving dinner on Mondays.

Even if they used to be closed on Mondays, why not advertise dinner seven nights a week?

Too Many Questions

your marketing message must be clearThat marketing message creates too many questions. But they aren’t the kind of questions that have made us want to stop in to try it out.

Plus, they may be losing business on other nights of the week — if they are even open the other nights. Some people won’t even bother to go there the other six nights of the week thinking it’s only open Mondays.

A marketing message that creates a question in your target’s mind is good if it’s a compelling enough question that makes people want to find out the answer.

For me, the question about this restaurant only makes me want to stop in, not to eat, but to ask, “Why aren’t you advertising your dinners Tuesday through Sunday?”


Who Are You? Contact Information is Essential

It’s always a surprise to come across a website, promoting a business, that has limited contact information. However, this happens all the time. I’ll see a business website that has only a contact form for learning more about the business. No phone number. No email address. Just a form to fill out.

contact information on your website is essential

This seems to happen more frequently with single person businesses, often freelancers, who seem afraid to list their phone numbers or email addresses. Although I’ve seen it even with small businesses with multiple employees.

Don’t be Afraid to Share Contact Information

I’ve never understood that. You want to sell your product or service, yet put up roadblocks to having people contact you.

When questioned about this, people will say, “Oh, I don’t want to get spam emails,” or “I don’t want my phone ringing in the middle of the night.”

My question to them is: Don’t you want to get business?

Then why are you only giving your potential customers one way to contact you.

Don’t get me wrong, having a contact form on your website is a great idea. However, that shouldn’t be the only option.

Sure, I have contact forms on my website, but I also list my phone number and email address on every page – including on the page with the contact forms.

Do I get spam emails? You bet! Probably 40 or 50 a day. But my email client is pretty good about catching them and putting them in a separate folder. It only takes me a couple of minutes a day to scan that folder to be sure a valid email hasn’t been thrown in there.

Do I get phone calls in the middle of the night? Very rarely, but I’ve got my phone set up with a “do not disturb” feature that only allows my family to get through at night. Other calls go to voicemail.

Do I get spam phone calls during the day? All the time, usually robo-calls that are easy to hang up on. Then I block the number from future calls.

Plus if the phone calls really bother me, I can get separate phones for business and personal use.

If you’re serious about doing business, make it easy for potential customers to contact you.

And if you need a voice talent for your next project, contact me using my phone number, email address or even my contact form!   🙂


Say What?

Pronunciation – Script Tip

Here’s a simple tip to save money on your voiceover recording sessions.

When you write a script for a voiceover, keep in mind that the voice talent may not know the pronunciations of all the words in your script. Most voice talents have a fairly well-developed vocabulary because they’ve read lots of scripts during their careers. However, we can’t possibly know the correct way to say every word.

This is especially true for words that are specific to your business or your industry, and for regional pronunciations of locations, medical terms, jargon, names, and the like.

pronunciation image from dictionary

Be Prepared

Even if you’re involved in the recording session, it’s a good idea to include pronunciations in your script. That will help move the session along without stops to check how to say things. That can save you money since the session won’t run longer while you look up a word.

This should go without saying, but don’t guess at how something should be pronounced. If you don’t know the word, check with someone who knows or look it up. Use the links below to check words you don’t know.

Make It Easy

Here are some tips to make it easy for the voice talent to record your script.

1. Don’t use complicated dictionary pronunciations.

For example, the Merriam-Webster online dictionary uses this cryptic code for saying the word “pronunciation:”


Now does anyone, besides a linguist, really know how to read that?

How do you say an upside down “e?” I have NO idea! And there are three of them there!

Even for those who know how to say an upside down “e” that jumble of symbols will slow things down during recording. Instead . . .

2. Use simple guides on how to say something.

Sound out the word and come up with an easy way to convey that.

Back to our word “pronunciation.” How about showing that as:


Much simpler, right?

Notice what I did with the upper case “A” there? It’s upper case because that’s the emphasized syllable. Capitalize all the letters in the syllable or syllables to be stressed.

3. Put the pronunciations in-line.

In other words, include it right where the word shows up in the script. Having a separate page with pronunciations is fine, but you should also include them in the script right where those hard to say words appear.

Something like this:
“When you need a pronunciation (pro-nun-see-A-shun) in a voice over script make it as easy as possible for the voice talent.”

4. Provide a link to an online version of how to say the word.

I do a lot of medical narrations and one of my clients always includes links so I can hear the words sounded out. Those links are in addition to having the pronunciation written out in the script.

When I review the script before recording it, I can quickly check those words and hear how to say them. Just be sure that the way it’s being said at the online site is the way you want it said. I’ve heard different ways to say a word depending on the site.

5. When in doubt, sound it out

If you question whether a pronunciation should be included in the script, go ahead and include it. It’s better to have them and not need them, than need them and not have them.

6. Don’t assume

You know what they say when you assume? Just because “everyone” in your industry or your part of the world knows how to say something don’t assume that the voice talent will know.

Here’s a simple regionalism as an example.

I’ve lived in both New Mexico and Colorado, two states that share a border, but don’t share how to say the word Zuni.

New Mexico is home to the Zuni tribe of Native Americans. In New Mexico, Zuni is pronounced ZOO-knee.

However, there’s a street in Denver named Zuni, but that one is said like ZOON-eye. Same word, two different ways to say it.

7. Don’t be stingy

If a word is used frequently in a script you can probably drop the pronunciation after the 3rd or 4th time it’s used. By then the voice talent should have it down. But if it’s infrequent and is separated by minutes of recording, then include how to say it whenever the word shows up. See tip #5.

Here are links to sites which have audio versions of how to say lots of words:

Dorsey Anderson YouTube Channel with Medical Terminology



How To Cross Promote Your Way To Success

handful of cash

Here’s an inexpensive way to market your business and help out some of your fellow business people.

Cross promotion has been used for years, but a lot of businesses still don’t use this valuable tool for building traffic and boosting sales. Cross promotion is a great marketing tool no matter what kind of business you’re running.

I’m not talking here about cross promoting other products or services your business offers — although that’s a great idea too. It’s one I’ll cover in a later article. I’m talking here about working with other businesses in your area to cross promote each other.

Take Eddie as an example. He owns Eddie B’s Dry Cleaners. He does a fair amount of business, but like all business owners, Eddie would like to get more customers. So he decides to work with some of his fellow business owners to cross promote each other.

In the shopping center where Eddie B’s Dry Cleaners is located there’s Pete’s Pizza Parlor, Bobbi’s Books, and Sally’s Salon of Style.

cross promote your way to success

Eddie talks to Pete, Bobbi, and Sally and suggests they all work together to cross promote each other’s businesses.

Whenever someone picks up their dry cleaning from Eddie, they find four coupons attached to the clothes hangers. One of the coupons is, of course, for a discount on dry cleaning in the future. The other coupons are for Eddie’s cross promotion partners. There’s a coupon for a free small pizza with an order for a large pizza from Pete’s. There’s a coupon for a free paperback book with the purchase of two hardcover books at Bobbi’s Books. And there’s a coupon for $5 off a haircut at Sally’s Salon of Style.

And since Eddie’s partners are in on the cross promotion, each of them hand out coupons for Eddie’s and the other businesses whenever they have a customer.

One advantage of using this method is that you build your customer base through your partners’ customer bases. And since you’re working with businesses that aren’t your direct competitors none of you are diluting your customer base.

Another advantage is that you help your customers find other merchants with whom they can do business.

Cross promotions can work for all kinds of businesses. Lawyers can cross promote with accountants. Vitamin stores can cross promote with natural food stores. A clothing store can work with a shoe store.

Here’s an idea I heard Dan Kennedy talk about. Book stores cross promoting with movie theaters. He suggests book stores providing excerpts of books that are on the big screen at the theater.

The possible combinations are endless.

How do you get started?

Simple. Look around at the businesses that are located near yours. Their customers could be yours and vice versa. Get in touch with the owners or managers of those businesses and tell them about your idea. Work with them to develop a plan for promoting your businesses together. You might even share the costs of printing coupons or other promotional materials.

Get creative and continue to look for new ways to market your business and those of your cross promotion partners.




On-Hold Messages: Why They Are Vital For Your Business

Customer on-hold are left in the cold

Every interaction you have with your customer is vital to the success of your business. From the radio and TV commercials you run to get customers in the door. To the way you treat the customer after the sale.

Everything you do needs to be designed to communicate your message.

Why should it be any different when a customer calls you on the phone?

Think about this. A customer has taken the time to pick up the phone to call you. Maybe that customer is ready to make a huge purchase. Or maybe a question about your product or service needs to be answered.

Regardless of the nature of the call, you have another opportunity to interact with that customer. However, the person who answers the phone isn’t the one who can answer the question. So the caller is placed on hold. Stuck on Hold

If that caller hears silence it may seem like they’ve been hung up on and they may hang up.

Or worse, what if that caller gets placed on hold and hears a radio station that is running a commercial for one of your competitors? Uh-oh! That can be a huge problem. You may lose that customer and the sale to your competition and probably never even realize it.

There are also legal ramifications to playing a radio station or other music to your on-hold callers. If you don’t have an ASCAP license you can’t legally play copyrighted music through your phone system. And even though the radio station you’re playing to callers has paid its ASCAP fees you still aren’t legally able to retransmit that signal. The radio station likely won’t mind — they want all the listeners they can get. However, playing a radio station over the phone is actually a violation of the law.

But with a telephone on-hold message, you can solve these problems. And give yourself another opportunity to sell to that customer. First, your customer will realize they haven’t been disconnected. Second, they’re hearing about your business.

You’re reinforcing your sales message. You can tell the customer how important you think they are. Plus you can tell them about products or services they might not be aware of.

Third, you won’t be violating any music copyright laws with a custom-produced telephone on-hold message.

Sick of being on-holdYou never want to leave customers on hold for very long, but it’s an inevitable part of daily business. Why not use that time to make your customer feel important and take another opportunity to interact with your customers?

I began producing telephone messages-on-hold for clients across the country more than 15 years ago. A custom-produced on-hold message can be updated on a regular basis to reflect changes in products, services, prices, and specials. They’re easy to update for holidays or special promotions. And they’ll give your business an edge over the competition.

Take a listen to my On-Hold Messages demo right now. If you’d like to learn more about telephone on-hold messaging please call me at (303) 915-9317 or email me at tim@weboutloud.com.